#SFExperience: Why Being Helpful is Better than Being Amazing

In our latest eBook, The Social Experience, we gathered insights and expert advice from today’s top brand social marketers and industry visionaries. We are sharing insights from this book here on the Spredfast Blog. Today, Convince & Convert's Jay Baer shares why helping is better than selling. 


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Consumers are being subjected to an invitation avalanche, with every company of every size, shape, and description asking people to Like them, Follow them, friend them, click, share, and +1 them. “Please engage with our company,” we plead, again, and again, and again. At best, it wears thin. At worst, it does more harm than good to brand equity and contributes to the distrust of business.

There are only two ways companies can differentiate themselves within this din and derive meaningful business results. The first is to be disproportionately amazing, interesting, human, wacky, irreverent, or timely. This is where advice to “humanize” and engage using social and new media stems from. It’s also the wellspring that feeds the quest to deliver knockout customer experiences—doing so creates “buzzworthy moments” that boost awareness and loyalty. I believe in the premise of amazing, interesting, human, wacky, irreverent, or timely so much that I cowrote a book in 2010 (The now Revolution) that is partially devoted to it—especially the human and timely components. But here’s the truth: I’ve worked with more than 700 companies as a marketing consultant and I’ve come to realize that while “be amazing” can work, it’s also extraordinarily difficult. The marketing of “be amazing” is the marketing of the swing-for-the-fences home run hitter. There are two byproducts of that approach: an occasional home run, and many strikeouts.

You can do better. You can break through the noise and the clutter and grab the attention of your customers by employing a different approach that is reliable, scalable, functional, and effective.

What if instead of trying to be amazing, you just focused on being useful? What if you decided to inform, rather than promote? You know that expression, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”? Well, the same is true for marketing: if you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.

I call this Youtility. Not “utility,” because a utility is a faceless commodity. Youtility is marketing upside down. Instead of marketing that’s needed by companies, Youtility is marketing that’s wanted by customers. Youtility is massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long-term trust and kinship between your company and your customers.

The difference between helping and selling is just two letters. But those two letters now make all the difference.  

 

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Jay Baer is a hype-free marketing strategist, speaker, and author and President of the social media and content marketing consultancy Convince & Convert. A digital marketing pioneer, Jay has consulted with more than 700 companies since 1994, including Caterpillar, Nike, Visit California, Allstate, Petco, Columbia Sportswear, and 29 of the Fortune 500.


Want more social business insights from Whole Foods Market, RadioShack, Ann Handley and more? Download your free copy of The Social Experience now.

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Courtney Doman

@cjdoman
Courtney is the Content Marketing Manager at Spredfast. She focuses on sharing smart social ideas and insights to transform the way companies connect with consumers. Courtney is a passionate football fan (supporting Arsenal and the USMNT), curious traveller, and ambitious home cook.